Jennifer D Jennifer's Comments (member since Mar 23, 2011)

Jennifer's comments from the CBC Books group.

(showing 181-200 of 3,093)

Mar 04, 2015 03:14AM

40089 Hilary wrote: "Hi, I'm Hilary from Saskatoon. I've been part of the group for a bit now, but watching from the side lines. Hoping to take part in this month's read/discussion."

welcome, hilary! glad you found us, and it will be nice to have you join our discussions. :)
40089 oh - i should have also said that i think it's okay to not know all the time when reading. sometimes i have encountered books where i have been stressing myself to try and work things out... only to then decide to just go with it, whatever the author is doing. this has mostly ended up in a better experience for me. (the examples that are coming to mind are Infinite Jest and 2666. i felt way out of my element with both of these books, initially. but both books ended up blowing my mind and being amazing reading experiences. it did help that i had co-readers in another group, and we had some terrific discussion as we puzzled through things. though i will admit that i don't get Ali Smith yet. heh. oops!)
40089 Reno wrote: "How much should an Indigenous author cater to a non-Indigenous reading population?..."

hmm, i don't think a writer - any writer - has any responsibility to tell their stories in certain ways, or cater to readers. i think a writer just has to tell their stories, in their own ways. to try and do otherwise may jeopardize authenticity. (not sure if i am making sense here? i hope so.) but i am a reader who doesn't mind putting in extra effort when i read. if i am not clear on something, it doesn't bother me to look it up. i haven't had to do so with the book so far, but i am going to try and get translations for the the part on page 15 (of my edition) - five brief sentences from ishmael, hawkeye, lone ranger and robinson crusoe.

i also do not feel king is jerking with us.
40089 okay - i have finished the first section of reading, i just have to transcribe my notes and make some questions. :)

i feel fairly confident i have caught all the references for the characters, so far. and i have managed to establish the threads of connection. but i do agree with you all - i am finding this a strange reading experience. i do believe king is using satire, and i have found some moments quite funny, ahdamn? and DOG god? snort! haha. but at this point, i can't say i am totally enjoying the story. as always, though, i have faith in the author and figure it will make sense the further along i get with it. (or at least that by the end - if i end up 'meh' about it, that i will have the understanding of what was being attempted.)
Mar 03, 2015 01:16PM

40089 Jake wrote: "Jennifer: thanks for the welcome. I may well need your help.."

jake, there is a thread which may help you with navigating this space. it gives an overview of the busier features in the group:
Mar 03, 2015 11:50AM

40089 Jake wrote: "wow, I made it this far. I live near Owen Sound, Ontario on beautiful Georgian Bay. I like mystery authors such Louise Penny,Giles Blunt and Barbara Fradkin..."

welcome, jake. i hope you enjoy the group. let me know if you need any help navigating the place. :)
40089 Alans wrote: "I thought there would be more discussion by now,but I guess we've been hit by the tsunami Canada Reads..."

sorry alans - i take the blame on this. i am a bit under the weather and behind on my reading, so the summary and discussion points i normally post are a bit delayed.

i am glad you took some time to post your thoughts, so far. i hope to jump in in the next day or so.

i do encourage others to not be shy. this space is her for you all, and i know you are out there reading!! :)
Mar 03, 2015 11:46AM

40089 oh, thanks so much for your nice comments, mj!

i am glad that this poem resonated so deeply with you! it's truly amazing when poetry can burrow into one's heart and mind. it's almost as though the poet has writen a work just for you.

i find merrill to be quite an interesting poet. i do agree that there is a universality to the poem - allowing the main speaker to vary from reader to reader.

it's great that you are enjoying the collection that is developing here. it's certainly a lovely time of day for me, searching, selecting and then compiling the post for each day's feature. even though this isn't the busiest space in the group, the fact that even a few people are finding value and poetic appreciation here is wonderful.

Mar 03, 2015 06:28AM

40089 Mirror

I grow old under an intensity
Of questioning looks. Nonsense,
I try to say, I cannot teach you children
How to live.—If not you, who will?
Cries one of them aloud, grasping my gilded
Frame till the world sways. If not you, who will?
Between their visits the table, its arrangement
Of Bible, fern and Paisley, all past change,
Does very nicely. If ever I feel curious
As to what others endure,
Across the parlor you provide examples,
Wide open, sunny, of everything I am
Not. You embrace a whole world without once caring
To set it in order. That takes thought. Out there
Something is being picked. The red-and-white bandannas
Go to my heart. A fine young man
Rides by on horseback. Now the door shuts. Hester
Confides in me her first unhappiness.
This much, you see, would never have been fitted
Together, but for me. Why then is it
They more and more neglect me? Late one sleepless
Midsummer night I strained to keep
Five tapers from your breathing. No, the widowed
Cousin said, let them go out. I did.
The room brimmed with gray sound, all the instreaming
Muslin of your dream . . .
Years later now, two of the grown grandchildren
Sit with novels face-down on the sill,
Content to muse upon your tall transparence,
Your clouds, brown fields, persimmon far
And cypress near. One speaks. How superficial
Appearances are! Since then, as if a fish
Had broken the perfect silver of my reflectiveness,
I have lapses. I suspect
Looks from behind, where nothing is, cool gazes
Through the blind flaws of my mind. As days,
As decades lengthen, this vision
Spreads and blackens. I do not know whose it is,
But I think it watches for my last silver
To blister, flake, float leaf by life, each milling-
Downward dumb conceit, to a standstill
From which not even you strike any brilliant
Chord in me, and to a faceless will,
Echo of mine, I am amenable.

~ James Merrill, from Collected Poems



James Ingram Merrill (March 3, 1926 – February 6, 1995) was an American poet whose awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1977) for Divine Comedies(1976). His poetry falls into two distinct bodies of work: the polished and formalist lyric poetry of his early career, and the epic narrative of occult communication with spirits and angels, titled The Changing Light at Sandover (published in three volumes from 1976 to 1980), which dominated his later career. Although most of his published work was poetry, he also wrote essays, fiction, and plays.

James Ingram Merrill was born in New York City to Charles E. Merrill (1885-1956), the founding partner of the Merrill Lynch investment firm, and Hellen Ingram Merrill (1898-2000), a society reporter and publisher from Jacksonville, Florida. As a boy, Merrill enjoyed a highly privileged upbringing in educational and economic terms.

"I found it difficult to believe in the way my parents lived. They seemed so utterly taken up with engagements, obligations, ceremonies," Merrill would tell an interviewer in 1982. "The excitement, the emotional quickening I felt in those years came usually through animals or nature, or through the servants in the house . . . whose lives seemed by contrast to make such perfect sense. The gardeners had their hands in the earth. The cook was dredging things with flour, making pies. My father was merely making money, while my mother wrote names on place-cards, planned menus, and did her needlepoint." Merrill's parents separated when he was eleven, then divorced when he was thirteen. As a teenager, Merrill boarded at the Lawrenceville School, where he befriended future novelist Frederick Buechner, began writing poetry, and undertook early literary collaborations. When Merrill was 16 years old, his father collected his short stories and poems and published them as a surprise under the name Jim's Book. Initially pleased, Merrill would later regard the precocious book as an embarrassment. Today, it is considered a bibliographical treasure worth thousands of dollars.

Merrill was drafted in 1944 into the United States Army and served for one year in the infantry. His studies interrupted by war and military service, Merrill returned to Amherst College in 1945 and graduated summa cum laude in 1947.

Merrill's partner of more than four decades was David Jackson, a writer and artist. Merrill and Jackson met in New York City after a performance of Merrill's play "The Bait" at the Comedy Club in 1953. (Poet Dylan Thomas and playwright Arthur Miller walked out of the performance.) Together, Jackson and Merrill moved to Stonington, Connecticut in 1955, purchasing a property at 107 Water Street (now the site of writer-in-residency program, the James Merrill House). When his father died, Merrill used money from his inheritance to establish the Ingram Merrill Foundation to give grants to writers and painters. The Foundation was dissolved in 1996, one year after Merrill's death - at that point disbursing approximately $300,000 a year.

Merrill served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1979 until his death. While wintering in Arizona, he died on February 6, 1995 from a heart attack. The New York Times ran a lovely tribute.


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Mar 03, 2015 03:58AM

40089 Yesterday, Plum Johnson was named the winner of The 2015 RBC Taylor Prize for her book They Left Us Everything: A Memoir. Johnson received $25,000, while the other nominees each received a $2,000 honorarium.

They Left Us Everything was inspired by the death of Johnson's parents, and her task of sorting through their worldly possessions. As she revisits her memories and makes new discoveries, Johnson realizes that her parents may not have been who she thought they were.

Original post on CBC's website:
40089 thank you for reading, and commenting on, today's poem. it definitely reminded me of robinson's novel too, mj.
40089 Things That Keep And Do Not Change

Out on the windy gulf, breakers
like bouldery sheets of laundry
tumble and spin towards the horizon
in my sleep. We've been fogbound for three days
and I've learned the difference between bad
ice and good, how to travel in a blizzard
using the wind to set your course.

One night I woke and a white shadow
was trying to get into bed with me.
My tongue went numb and the only words
I could remember came out cold. I used to think
white was no colour at all, only your absence
making itself known, your ghost
doubling back to pull down my stiff
winter underwear from our drooping clothesline -
little thief! When they found you
the foam on the beach after the north wind
blew all night was white and deep.
We've been fogbound for days
and I've learned to set my course on the wind.

~ Susan Musgrave, from: Things That Keep and Do Not Change (McClelland & Stewart, 1999)



Susan Musgrave is a Canadian poet and children's writer. She was born in Santa Cruz, California to Canadian parents, and currently lives in British Columbia, dividing her time between Sidney and Haida Gwaii.

Musgrave is married to Stephen Reid, a writer, convicted bank robber and former member of the infamous band of thieves known as the Stopwatch Gang. Their relationship was chronicled in 1999 in the CBC series Life and Times.

Musgrave defended Al Purdy's collection of poetry Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets: Selected Poems 1962-1996 in Canada Reads 2006.

She currently teaches creative writing in the University of British Columbia's Optional Residency Master of Fine Arts Program.

Recognizing a life in writing, the Writers' Trust presented Susan Musgrave with the 2014 Matt Cohen Award for her lifetime of work, and it's a life with many ups and downs and a LOT of humour - she spoke to the CBC's As It Happens about the honour.


author's website:

poem from:
biography from:
40089 welcome to the start of a new month, and our new group read.

this week's schedule:

march 1st - 7th: part one; pages 1 - 100.
part one = "Dikalvgvi gigage"= East red
East = red = success; triumph

final line reads: "All right," I says, "pay attention. In the beginning there was nothing. Just the water."

i have not yet begun to read, but i will be back in a couple of days to post an overview and some discussions points. in the meantime, i hope you all feel free to talk about this section of the book.
Mar 01, 2015 08:43AM

40089 i just wanted to give a very big thank you to everyone who joined in our discussion for february's read!! i am glad that the novel was being read by so many people, and the discussions really added to the read.



please do continue with your chatting, i wanted to get my thank you posted, and i am sorry to interrupt your conversations!
40089 i am also not starting the read until tomorrow. i have a couple of other books i need to finish first and i really don't multi book well. :)
Feb 27, 2015 02:37PM

40089 Deanna Annaed wrote: "Jennifer! I should go back and read the snow child discussion!"

here's the link:
(i should have shared it before. sorry!!)
Feb 27, 2015 02:13PM

40089 deanna, we read 'the snow child' as our group read in january 2014 (i think it was). it was a great discussion and the book was well-received by those who participated actively in our conversations. i am so glad you have had a chance to read it now, and that it captured your attention! i totally know what you mean about hesitating when seeing a book is universally praised/highly rated.
Feb 27, 2015 09:20AM


On March 5th, at 7pm (EST), join CBC Books and Indigo for the Indigo Canada Reads Author Chat - a Google hangout featuring all five Canada Reads authors, moderated by host Wab Kinew.

You will be able to watch the conversation RIGHT HERE, so bookmark this link!

Ask a question for the chat on Twitter for a chance to win a $50 Indigo gift card and a Canada Reads tote - use the hashtag #CanadaReadsChat when you post your question on Twitter. Your question might be asked in the hangout! Rules & regulations here. The winners will be announced during the chat.

CBC Books on Twitter: @cbcbooks
Feb 27, 2015 07:31AM

40089 i have two books in-progress today:
* On Black Sisters Street: A Novel, by Chika Unigwe, and
* And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa, by M.G. Vassanji

vassanji's writing is just lovely. i am enjoying this memoir, so far. if you're interested, maclean's has a brief excerpt posted, from last week's edition:

unigwe's book... is heartbreaking. the writing is a bit up and down, but it's interesting, so far.
Feb 27, 2015 07:26AM

40089 Michelle wrote: "I just started Ann Weisgarber's The Personal History of Rachel DuPree which Penny's group is reading this month. I like historical fiction and this is a story..."

different penny, michelle. :)
i wanted to read this one with the group too, but i am having trouble getting a copy - which, actually turns out to be okay. i was teetering in overcommitment-ville.

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